DS on the verge of leaving university now just before the end of the first year...

(34 Posts)
Bluebell66 Wed 06-Apr-16 13:44:51

My DS, 19, is studying for a degree in Media and Journalism. He is nearly at the end of the first year. He has Aspergers, is socially isolated and suffering from severe depression and anxiety. Three years ago he is his Dad to Cancer.

He has reached rock bottom and simply feels unable to go on, which means he will not complete Year 1 of his three year course.

Is there anything to be gained in completing even just one year of a degree course, will it benefit him in anyway in the future, or will it be meaningless?

He's pretty sure he doesn't want to continue with the course after this year.

Thank you in advance for any information or advice.

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Bluebell66 Wed 06-Apr-16 13:45:33

LOST his Dad to Cancer. Sorry.

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Jemappelle Wed 06-Apr-16 13:46:43

I am a university lecturer. Can you ask him to find out if his uni offers undergraduate diplomas? Sometimes these are comprised of what would be the first 1 or 2 years of a full degree course and depending on what they have he may be able to do a bit more work and get a diploma if not the degree?

antimatter Wed 06-Apr-16 13:48:04

He could transfer some credits across depending on the course he is taking.
What support has he had from student services so far?

LIZS Wed 06-Apr-16 13:48:49

I would advise him to complete the year, with support, if possible. He could then transfer to another course later on or perhaps negotiate a year out now. What is he finding hard, are they things which could be overcome in time?

Piemernator Wed 06-Apr-16 13:48:57

Also if he ever decided to take an OU course they will consider within certain time frames credits obtained from a previous course.

Finchley26 Wed 06-Apr-16 13:54:08

Several options may be possible.

Can he speak to someone about intercalating? He'll be able to take a year off from now and have a year to think about whether he wants to return or wants to do something else. Having this option is far, far better than a total withdrawal.

Does his university have a counselling service - please suggest he goes and speaks to them. They will have seen 100s of students in similar positions to him before and will be able to give him superb and impartial advice.

Completing year one of a university degree may mean in the future he could transfer elsewhere, or he could return and complete a different course. It also means (depending on the university structure) that he could transfer direct to a different course as early as this September/October.

Hope this helps!


bananapeanut Wed 06-Apr-16 13:56:14

This stuck a note with me. Currently doing a journalism degree myself and want to leave 😞

calamityjam Wed 06-Apr-16 13:59:23

At both unis I have been to, completing and passing year one means you can get a cert HE, HNC. This is a qualification on its own and can be used in the next 5 years as automatic entry to year 2.

Bluebell66 Wed 06-Apr-16 14:02:22

Would a cert HE HNC be taken into consideration by future employers calamityjam do you know? He really feels he's done with education and wants to try and find employment in journalism instead.

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Kaddy Wed 06-Apr-16 14:39:17

Sorry to hear that your son is struggling. Does he live away from home?

bananapeanut Wed 06-Apr-16 14:58:40

Is it the course he hates? Or uni culture?

Because if he can't cope with the course, or doesn't particularly like it, I think he'll struggle to find/enjoy a job in journalism

Bluebell66 Wed 06-Apr-16 16:26:49

It's the course banana. He's still living at home. I do share your concerns though. I do worry that journalism is too "cut throat" for him, but writing is his talent and all he's ever wanted to do.

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cestlavielife Wed 06-Apr-16 16:30:06

what does he like writing about? does he have a specialist interest?

writing or editing on trade magazines can be less cut throat than newspapers...

encourage him to complete the year then follow any special interest and write about that, look for trade magazines, try and get in as an editorial assistant.

Bluebell66 Thu 07-Apr-16 08:09:15

His passion is cars cestlavielife. He's always been passionate about them and has a wealth of knowledge. He already has his own website and has had a four page article published in a leading national car magazine. That's what he really dreams of doing for a living. I think as of last night he's going to at least try and complete this year. Thank you for all your replies.

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mrsmeerkat Thu 07-Apr-16 08:14:37

wishing him all the best

hellsbells99 Thu 07-Apr-16 08:15:02

Good luck Bluebell. Keep a close eye on him and visit if you can. His mental health is far more important than finishing the year. Also make sure he emails his tutor to let them know he is struggling and that he books an appointment with student services. Help is available at uni, but only if they are aware there is a problem.

Bluebell66 Thu 07-Apr-16 10:11:41

Thank you for your support and good wishes. He's contacted Student Welfare hellsbells and emailed his tutor. He struggles alone for so long before he breaks, he's so reluctant to ask for help. It's heart breaking to see him so tormented, he needs his Dad so much, life has been so cruel to him, even at this young age.

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lightcola Thu 07-Apr-16 10:17:48

My brother left uni weeks before the end of his first year as he was so down. He spent a year "finding himself" and is now a fully qualified secondary school teacher after going back to uni with a more definite plan. I think 18/19 is so young to decide what to do.

cestlavielife Thu 07-Apr-16 10:20:08

that's great he has blog and articles published...have him complete the year as not long to go and it will look better to show he has completed the year....and gives him opportunity to pick up again later. then suggest he focuses on writing more blogs, more articles published and applying for jobs on such magazines thru his contacts. or he could focus on being freelancer.

Starman16 Thu 07-Apr-16 10:36:50

I left my degree course at the end of the first year. Even though I was pretty sure I wouldn't be going back, I discussed with the head of my course and went through the process to defer for a year - so if I did change my mind I could have started my second year a year later. I'm not sure if that's always an option but worth exploring.

I have a certificate saying I passed my first year, which is fairly meaningless as a qualification, but I always list it on my CV and at interviews explain my reasons for not completing (didn't enjoy the course, had been funnelled of to uni straight from a levels without much thought and needed a break from education). On at least two occasions (one for my current position) it has led to a discussion where the interviewer has applauded my 'bold' decision, seen it as a positive I.e knowing my own mind. That year also gave be lots of experiences that I still draw on, so not at all a waste.

Obviously there will be some jobs where you need a degree just to tick their criteria (even if you don't need one as such for the job - frustrating!) but just wanted to let you know my experience has actually not been overly negative.

Bluebell66 Thu 07-Apr-16 13:22:46

Thank you so much everyone, all your advice and experience is so useful and I'm so grateful. I will pass it all onto him. He lives at home, because of his Aspergers and then losing his Dad, he wasn't able to move away. I'm so glad he's here with me, and not completely on his own.

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glitterwobbles Sat 18-Jun-16 11:02:25

Bluebell 66
Hope that your son has made his mind up about university and feels happy with his decision. I also hope that the university have advised and supported him about other options or taking a year out
my son has withdrawn from university until 2017 due to health reasons. it has been a negative experience with the university threatening him with exclusion on grounds of non attendance even though they were the ones who advised him to not attend a placement and dragged their feet arranging risk assessments. I now have a disillusioned teenager at home who is struggling to come to terms with a long term health condition and was told by one of his lecturers that he is a liability. any advice as how to deal with the situation would be greatly appreciated.

Bluebell66 Sat 18-Jun-16 13:49:05

Glitter, I am so, so sorry to hear that. This kind of attitude, especially from people in a position of power and authority makes me so angry. They should have understanding and compassion. My heart goes out to you and your son. My son somehow found the strength to complete his first year and is currently planning on going back for his second. Mainly because he has no other options available to him at present, He has Aspergers and life is extremely challenging for him. He is currently being treated for severe anxiety and depression. I'm not sure if your son was living away from home or not? My son goes to our local university in order for him to study while still having the security of living at home. Would this be an option for your son, to study while still living at home? I hope he is able to put what this vile man said behind him. If it was me, I would be making an official complaint to the Head of the university. He should not be allowed to get away with treating your son like that.

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PolitelyDisagree Mon 20-Jun-16 09:18:57


That's good to hear that your son managed to complete the first year. I hope he has a good rest over the summer.

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